A Packed House Reaches for Excellence at MEF’S 26th Annual Banquet

You could easily get away with calling the recent Midtown Educational Foundation’s 26th annual Reach for Excellence dinner an investment seminar—so long as you realize that the targeted investment is in the lives of some 1,149 at-risk boys and girls—and their families—served by the Midtown Center for boys and Metro Achievement Center for girls throughout the past year.

Indeed, Kelly Wright, co-anchor of Fox’s America’s News Headquarters and emcee for the evening, noted that MEF was about “investing in the life of a child” and, equally, playing an important role in their families because “the greatness of a nation lies in the homes of its people.” And the investment theme seemed to carry the evening.

It was there when John J. Conroy, Jr., president of MEF’s board of directors, thanked Walgreens for investing in the Reach for Excellence dinner since its inception and for its ongoing support of MEF’s programs over the years.

It was there when Kristi Savacool, strategic advisor at AON, and Ed Wehmer, founder and CEO of Wintrust Financial Corporation, accepted recognition as outstanding supporters of MEF and its goals. As Glenn Wilke, executive director of MEF, noted, “Kristi and Ed embody what MEF stands for, strength of character and an abiding interest in embracing, through MEF, the dignity of the person by focusing on academic excellence, virtue development, individual attention, and parental engagement.”  

Watch "The Face of MEF" that debuted at the 2017 Reach for Excellence Awards Dinner

It was there when, from the 544 attendees, dozens of individuals and firms opened their wallets to support the dinner and bid on items that contributed to a grand total of just over one million dollars for MEF.

It was there even during a comedic skit, when MEF students Rebecca Cano-Beltran and Zahir Giwa and auxiliary board member Elizabeth Morgan and Midtown staffer Brian Parker role-played a familiar family annoyance over sibling rivalry and how students are taught to use the values and character traits taught at MEF to overcome life’s often-daily challenges.

In the financial world, every legitimate investment prospectus is legally bound to carry the following caveat: “Past performance does not guarantee future returns.”

However, after 52 years serving some 23,000 at-risk students with a lean budget and a dedicated staff, MEF need offer no such warning. If anything, its prospectus can guarantee returns in the form of money well invested and the incalculable dividends of helping changing lives for the better. And forever.

Looking for ways to invest in MEF kids? Learn more about volunteering here or make a contribution to support MEF student success here!

View more photos from the evening on MEF's Facebook Page: